Message from Chief Commissioner and CEO, Saxon Rice, regarding the Coronavirus outbreak

Ms Saxon Rice, Acting Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer

ASQA understands the challenge that the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak poses for VET and ELICOS providers, their staff and students. We are working with other Australian Government departments to share updated information for providers and students. We also encourage any provider impacted by this health issue to contact us so that we can work to provide any additional support required.

Compliance arrangements

ASQA acknowledges the challenges providers face, particularly as they relate to the needs of overseas students impacted or potentially impacted by recently imposed travel and quarantine restrictions. Providers may wish to consider extending online or distance components of courses for impacted overseas students during the first half of 2020 or implement similar measures.

ASQA does not intend to pursue regulatory action against providers in this situation and recommends that all adaptive measures are documented in the relevant students’ records. This includes where such actions may be in technical non-compliance with the National Code, the Standards for RTOs or the ELICOS Standards, and applies to:

  • limitations of online course delivery for overseas students
  • variations to documented delivery strategies
  • student ‘attendance’
  • other areas where action is required to assist students that may otherwise be considered non-compliant.

We acknowledge that challenges during this time will take many forms, and we will work with providers on a case-by-case basis to minimise the impact this situation has on both providers and students.

Some providers may be concerned about current regulatory activity underway, requests by ASQA to provide information or possible future regulatory activity. We encourage any providers impacted by Covid-19 (also known as Novel Coronavirus) to contact our Info Line on 1300 701 801 or at enquiries@asqa.gov.au to discuss adaptive measures.

Our thoughts are with those affected, and we are prepared to support providers to manage both the health risks and any compliance concerns effectively.

More information

The information in the links below is being updated frequently, and we encourage those affected by the Coronavirus to check these regularly.

Department of Health

Information about health concerns

The Department of Health has published general information and fact sheets for the education sector about the Coronavirus on their website.

Information about visa and travel restrictions

The Department of Home Affairs has published fact sheets for education providers, student visa holders, and visa holders and applications. These can be accessed on the Department’s website.

Information about higher education

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has provided a compliance update and fact sheets for higher education providers and students. These can be found on the TEQSA website.

PRISMS users

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has published advice for PRISMS users in relation to managing international student Confirmation of Enrolment records (CoEs).

Latest news

The Department of Health has released updated advice to RTOs in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Department of Education has shared a notice from the Department of Health with VET providers regarding the coronavirus situation.

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